Interview: Maybe Kevin Killian Will Make You Wet Yourself, Maybe He'll Sell You His Blood
Dec 17, 2009
L Magazine: "For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what's the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?"
Killian: "Dennis Cooper wrote that 'Kevin Killian is the greatest unsung genius in contemporary American literature.' Part of me thinks, 'That seems about right,' but of course he is being very very kind."
The L Magazine Online Questionnaire for Writer Types
Read Here Now
Dec 4, 2009
"Man I am so jacked up on the biggest Shirley Temple in a dirty glass from Vesuvio, extra formaldehyde from the maraschino cherry, please. I went there for a mocktail after hearing Kevin Killian read from his latest book, Impossible Princess, at City Lights. Kevin Killian is so freaking funny, and his work is so brazenly vulnerable in that it's vulnerable to be so weird and risky and also risque, and he just plunges into the hilarious muck of it with pretty much the best vibes I’ve ever felt off a writer giving a reading. Some literary organization has to create a Best Vibe award and give it to Kevin Killian. Having City Lights call him and ask him to do a book with them felt like some sort of award to Kevin, and to have the editor specifically solicit his weirdest works must have felt like he won some experimental writer lotto. I mean, everyone I know is always afraid their work is too weird for a publisher, you know? Or is that just me?"
Michelle Tea, Open Space, SFMoma
". . . in [Killian's] pages, characters don't so much stumble into experience as embrace it, tear it apart, and ache for more and different kinds of it. His body of work, which includes (and hybridizes) fiction, poetry, the memoir and the essay, is marked by a playful rigor and an openness that takes nothing at face value. It wields an uncanny ability to be penetrating and generous at once. All these are qualities that have made him — deservedly — a cult figure among discerning readers everywhere."
San Francisco Bay Guardian
"When it comes to unpretty and unsentimental sex shed of the layers of accumulated euphemism, Killian doles it out in spades whether readers are prepared for it or not."
— Juliette Tang
"'What portion of one's personality is a fiction?’ . . . It’s a question that swims through [Impossible Princess] . . . It swims through, dives in, submerges itself, reemerges and winsomely skinny-dips in the at times murky, at turns sparkling ponds of Killian’s energetic, muscular, sassy, exquisite prose."
— Colin Herd
"'When pressed to account for her affinity to gay men, Moira always smiled and said, "I am a gay man, trapped in a woman's body…This is San Francisco!"' At once funny, knowing, sexy, and a tad twisted, Moira (a character in Kevin Killian’s story "Greensleeves") reflects the overall tone of Impossible Princess, an eclectic collection of short fiction that sparkles, sizzles, and arouses the intellect."
Kevin Killian Reads From His New City Lights Collection, Impossible Princess
Dec 3, 2009
Listen to a podcast of Kevin Killian reading from Impossible Princess.
Kevin Killian, City Lights
"Readers familiar with Killian's earlier work, no matter how familiar they believe themselves to be, are entering foreign terrain. It’s much darker here in the framing, but just as fantastic. Familiar or not, it’s a place worth seeing."
— Jesse Hudson
Sep 11, 2009
"Impossible Princess, a collection of gay short fiction by San Francisco author Kevin Killian also drops Nov. 1. The short stories explore everything from humor to dark sexual desire, with Killian weaving bizarre and unexpected twists."
Jaime Schock, Southern Voice
"What's the secret of Killian's prodigious talents with prose, poetry, plays, biographies – and, as is the case with most of the tales in this genius collection, literary porn? All is revealed in 'Rochester' (written with Tony Leuzzi), in which a star-struck reader of 'this great man' finally meets 'Kevin Killian' after hot and heavy e-mail
correspondence – only to find he's a dirty old man living with a chimpanzee who hammers out stories for him on a battered electric typewriter. 'Spurt,' more grounded in morose reality, is about a jaded commuter’s motel trysts with damaged men; erotic fantasy also fuels 'Too Far,' in which a virginal, sexually confused swimming pool salesman, obsessed by Kylie Minogue, meets a has-been British pop star who tickles his libido. Five of the 10 short stories in this exhilarating collection by one of gay lit’s luminaries are reprints – but because the books in which they originally appeared are long out of print, and because they’re so darned good, this collection is better than new."
Time Out New York
"Whatever his subject matter, Killian maintains full authority — offering up a homoerotic interpretation of Flannery O'Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find and a brilliant imagined history of Hank Williams. Here, under the author’s careful control and easygoing charisma, everything seems up for grabs, and almost anything seems possible."
Bay Area Reporter
"In the new stories of Impossible Princess, Killian's only gotten more edgy, imaginative, funny and weirdo, bonko, crazy sexy. It's amazing the way he blends such wild provocations of porn with immersion in pop culture and philosophical musings. He's a pretty unique writer, stimulating a reader from brain to bone."
—John F. Karr
Sep 10, 2009
". . . Bingham also figures as a fictionalized character in 'Dietmar Lutz mon Amour,' one of an upcoming collection of short stories, Impossible Princess, by beloved San Francisco author Kevin Killian (City Lights; in bookstores by November). Killian imagines what the gay rugby champ must have been thinking as the doomed flight took off on 9/11. 'Suddenly Mark was very aware of how quiet everything was. And Todd's talking at him about the World Trade Center – the what? Partly he was thinking, those damn stewards, who seem so cruisy when they greet you on the way in, all disappear to the back and rank the talent. And partly he was taking in Todd's white, drained face, the World what? World Trade what?'
An advance copy of Princess captivated us from start to end. Killian will read from the book at City Lights Bookstore in North Beach on Thurs., Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. His books include two previous story collections, the PEN award-winning Little Men (1996) and I Cry Like a Baby (2001). His latest novel, Spreadeagle, will be published next year by Alyson Books."
Roberto Friedman, Bay Area Reporter
"Ten homoerotic stories by Killian (Spreadeagle) explore startling encounters between the straight and gay worlds. Several of the stories, set in the 1970s, appeared in Killian's previous collections, such as 'Hot Lights,' in which a strapped-for-cash student gets hired for a hardcore porn shoot, and ''Spurt,' set in a Long Island motel where a couple of commuters congregate to indulge in morbid sex. Others are elaborate romances, such as ''Dietmar Lutz Mon Amour,' where an erotic encounter with a security guard in the basement of San Francisco's De Young museum provides a fulfilling intellectual kinship for the married narrator, and ''Too Far,' in which a straight swimming pool salesman from Maryland clearly wants to experiment with a man at a party, though he may get more than he anticipates. Killian is best being self-consciously writerly, as in 'Rochester,' in which a naïve writer arrives at the dilapidated home of the legendary writer 'Kevin Killian,' only to discover a decrepit has-been who keeps a pet chimpanzee typing in the bedroom. Fans of Killian's work will be pleased to find fresh stimulation with shades of Dennis Cooper."